The State of the Nightstand

from decoist (not from my place…)

The thing is, I’ve been rather restless with my reading and blogging since the beginning of the month. I don’t want to blame it all on social media (actually more on personal and professional upheavals), but my attention span is really reduced to… well, I won’t say a figure because the moment I tried to compute it I was already turning to another subject. Let’s say that one minute (sixty full seconds!) is the extent of my focus time these days.

Oh well. I do have a million things to do, and a million books are crying out loud for my attention too. It’s true that September is the new January, and I go to a new library now, with so many tempting shelves!

Of course, the more books I start in parallel, the less progress I make on any of them at any given time, which makes me even more restless. And makes my nightstand ever so crowded. So, in no particular order, I give you all those books that I hope to finish some day soon:

  • Balzac: A Mysterious Affair (also known as A Historical Mystery). It’s set in the first years of Napoleon, just after the revolution, and the beginning was mysterious indeed, because I know next to nothing to this period and Balzac doesn’t make it easy.
  • Xu Zechen, Beijing Pirate. the murky business of small-time crooks in contemporary Beijing. I’ve wanted to read more Chinese novels for quite a while. It makes me a bit nostalgic on Beijing though.
  • Dorothy Whipple, The Priory. Everybody in the blog world praises Dorothy Whipple, and it’s a Persephone bestseller, so I had to try. I’m slow to warm up to it because I don’t “get” British humor very easily at first read, but everyone is lovely in there so I might stay until scones and tea are served.
  • Michael Ondaatje, The Cat’s Table. A memoir of travelling from Colombo to England as a boy alone on a ship. Many anecdotes and coming-of-age revelation. The atmosphere is so warm and tender.
  • Tracy Chevalier, New Boy. Which is a retelling of Shakespeare’s Othello at a grade school in the 1970s in the US. The problem is that I’ve never read Othello, I’m relying on having watched the classic movie with Orson Wells one or two decades ago. And I keep trying to figure out the grade system in the US (how old are these kids exactly?). It doesn’t make for a smooth reading. But I will persevere.
  • Fun Home, the first tome of the graphic memoir of Alison Bechdel who grew up in a dysfunctional family in the 1960s-1970s. Her father worked in a Funeral Home (hence “Fun. Home”) and was a closeted gay man. Things didn’t exactly work well. It’s dark and funny and oh so clever. I started with her second memoir and am working my way backwards, but it’s not a quick read.

Oh, I also kind of forgot… I started a collection of short stories by Chekhov but didn’t finish. And started a collection of short stories by David Sedaris and didn’t finish. Really Checkhov and Sedaris don’t have much in common, and yet… Both stuck.

And, just because it was so tempting, I have just started a crime mystery by the Swedish duo Maj Sjöwall and Per Wahlöö… [Shaking my head] I have no good reason, I know, but… Lucky for me, Goodreads doesn’t roll its virtual eyes when I add yet another title to the Currently Reading category.

What about you? How high is your pile these days?



4 thoughts on “The State of the Nightstand

  1. Sounds like you’re in what Stefanie calls “the Middles.” I’ve been there! It’s a strange feeling not to be able to settle into something. Lately my eyes have been way bigger than my reading time, so I’ve had to return quite a few things to my library unread. Oh well, I can always request them again! Between the Anne of Green Gables readalong and my monthly book group book, and now the RIP Challenge, I’ve got just a teeny tiny bit of reading wiggle room! 🙂 I’m telling myself, next year NO reading goals! I want some more freedom and randomness in my reading.

    • Oh the Dreaded Middles! I’ve been a tad too ambitious i guess. Big volumes and classics with some difficult language… i already know i need an easy read next… but only whenever i finish a few

    • Oh my gosh, “The Middles” is an amazing way to describe that phenomenon! That’s totally what it is, and I have absolutely been there, my friend. Hang in there. it gets better. And sometimes the answer can be to declare bankruptcy on everything you’ve tried, return them all to the library, and start something totally new.

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